Limits on Receipt of Multiple Disability Benefits Could Save Millions

HRD-81-127: Published: Jul 28, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1981.

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GAO was requested to study the prevalence of multiple receipt of disability benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and other programs, as well as various approaches to better coordinate the overall benefits provided to an individual for the purpose of precluding them from exceeding the worker's predisability earnings. A sample of social security recipients were matched against 8 of the largest Federal programs, 12 State or local government disability programs, and the workers' compensation programs of the States and territories. The matched programs represented about 98 percent of the total Federal beneficiaries and about 38 percent of the total State and local government beneficiaries.

The results showed that about 16 percent of the disability insurance beneficiaries received benefits from one or more of the matched programs and about 41 percent also received aggregate benefits exceeding their predisability earnings. GAO estimates that about $149 million could be saved annually if the workers' compensation offset formula were extended to the Civil Service, military, Black Lung Benefits, and State and local government employees' disability programs. In addition, extending the offset to the Veterans Compensation program could save an additional $283 million annually.

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